4/5 - The Hollow Director: Miles Doleac
The Hollow is a film made in a seemingly forgotten tradition of American movies: the straightforward murder mysteries of the 80's and 90's (a la Witness) that featured vivid settings with even stronger accents, a twisty-but-still-easily-digestible plot setup, charismatic actors, layers of tension, and a distinct beginning and end. I love the experimental and emotionally ambiguous as much as any film lover, but I find it just as vital to preserve more straightforward genre fair, especially when they are as precisely made and effective as The Hollow.
The film is centered around a murder in the Deep South that brings together two deeply troubled men. There is Vaughn, a wasted FBI agent played by James Callis of Battlestar Galactica fame, and Ray, a dirty cop played by writer/director Miles Doleac. The two men, anchoring the film in a pair of rock solid performances, both conspire (in their own equally conflicted ways) to take down Big John Dawson (William Forsythe). While Dawson is your typical Southern gentlemen/big bad, but Forsythe sinks his teeth into the role in such a way you will not want to turn away.
The same can be said for the film as a whole. In a lesser team's hands, The Hollow could have a been boilerplate mess; but Doleac, whose last film was a quieter character drama (The Historian), takes the reigns of this genre piece and makes it his own. Yes, elements of The Hollow can feel derivative, but, in the end, commitment and enthusiasm and attention to detail produces entertaining movies. This is a film that has commitment in spades.
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